Date: Jan 17, 2020
Authors: Antonio Saadipour Sellés, Mavis Anderson
Just when you thought traveling to Cuba couldn’t get any harder, the White House proved us wrong. Only ten days into 2020, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced an indefinite suspension of all public charter flights between the United States and Cuban destinations other than Havana’s José Martí International Airport.
The current administration is operating off of the misconception that restricting the Cuban government’s ability to profit from American travelers will force regime change. Apparently, our failure to incite such a change over the past 60 years is not evidence enough that this will never happen. Last week, LAWG put out a statement along with other NGOs condemning this most recent move by our government to curb travel to Cuba. However, that alone won’t be enough to get the White House’s attention.
What’s Going On?
In September, we informed you of the two new identical travel bills being introduced in Congress: S. 2303 and H.R. 3960. These bills, both of which have received bipartisan support, would allow Americans to travel to Cuba just as they would any other country. The Senate bill has 47 co-sponsors and the House bill has 44 co-sponsors. But if we want to affect any sort of real change in the near future, we have to get those numbers up… and fast.
We have seen how progress made on establishing diplomatic ties with Cuba over the course of decades can be almost entirely wiped in just one presidential term. Another step backwards is simply out of the question.
We need you to make three quick and easy phone calls: one to each of the offices of your two senators and one to the office of your representative. <<Find them here.>>
Here’s a sample script:
“My name is ____, and I am a constituent from ____. I urge Senator ____ to co-sponsor S. 2303./I urge Representative ____ to co-sponsor H.R. 3960. An overwhelming majority of Americans favor unrestricted travel to Cuba. This administration’s attempts to reverse advances made in engagement with Cuba, a country that poses no threat to our national security, are unwarranted. Cuba is progressing; and right now, we can help best by allowing U.S. citizens to travel there freely.”
Make no mistake—this policy will not result in a change of government. It will only exacerbate the anguish of Cubans living in the United States who already feel worlds away from their loved ones on the island. It will tighten the already iron grip on the Cuban economy, forcing ordinary citizens to desperately search for other alternatives to support themselves financially. You have the power to change that, so please pick up the phone.
If your members are already on the legislation (check out the co-sponsor lists at the links above), it still helps to call their office to thank them and to ask them to be active in promoting the travel bill.